1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,169 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,169
Reviews: 1,070
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.44%
Wants: 351
Gots: 663 | FT: 49
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  7.75% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: beerguy101 on 09-19-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,169 | Reviews: 1,070 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rapidsequence
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My 300th review.

Corked 375 ml bottle, from Tim. Batch 57, which according to the website was bottled 4/26/10 (why don't all breweries give this info?). The cage on mine fell apart and I had to use pliers to untwist it.

Appearance: Surprisingly cloudy dark yellow color poured in my Duvel tulip. I expect better clarity in this style. A big rocky head, but not the best retention. Good lacing, not the best. Clears up quite a bit over 30 minutes or so, but still with a little haze.

Smell: Ripe, but not overly sweet fruitiness with pear, apple, white grape, and a little banana. A leafy, slightly earthy hoppiness. Yeast aromas are spicy and a tiny bit musty. These really meld together well.

Taste: Very balanced flavor. Slightly sweet fruity esters and pale malt with a tart fruitiness and a bitter, earthy hops note. Finishes mostly clean with a little lingering spicy yeast flavor. Alcohol is nowhere to be found.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation but remains soft and never gets sharp. Smooth.

Drinkability: Going through this way too fast. Wish this was a 750.

rapidsequence, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of itsfreeasinbeer
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Champagne colored, with two fingers of finely bubbled white head.

S: Fruity and lemony. This is the typical yeast signature of a Belgian pale.

T: A nice sweet malt component with a predominant lemon taste. There is a hint of hops rounding out the profile. Overall it is less hoppy than another strong pale ale like duvel. The flavor is supported a malty lemon backbone.

M: well carbonated, and a bit crisp.

D: Very good. I could enjoy quite a few of these as they are among the better of the Belgian strong pales. A tasty citrus malty backbone makes it a refreshing drink for a warm day.

itsfreeasinbeer, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of larryi86
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375 mL bottle Batch 060 poured into a tulip

A- A pale hazy golden color with a two finger white head

S- Nice yeast smell with hints of fruit, apples and maybe pears, and some spices

T- Very close to the smell. Getting some breadiness from the yeast, and hints of banana. Nice spices and hint of earthy pine hops in the finish.

M- Medium body, crisp, smooth, refreshing.

D- A great easy to drink Belgian style ale. Good complexity. I really wish I had more...

larryi86, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Happy New Year and cheers to the 50 followers of this page.

Pours a cloudy, vibrant golden straw color. Heavily carbonated, and capped by a pleasing, tidal pool hat of persistent foam. Leaves nice, spidery lacing. Strong Belgian yeast aromas, a nice citrusy backbone, too. Like a lemon Italian Soda. A touch of sweet malt in there too, like candy sugar. Pretty cool and perfectly to style. Flavor is a nice, complex melding of a quick lemonade burst, morphing rapdily into a, effervescent interplay of yeast and malt - more to the yeast at first, then the malt kicks in and rounds out the middle. Finish is dry and lingering with a touch of bitterness. A minor, soapy character rears its unpleasant head here and there for a couple fleeting instants, but these are quickly quelled by the dominant malty/yeasty flavors. Pretty good beer. 7.75% ABV and about $4.99/375ml bottle, so fiarly higher priced than average.

What I like most: The complex flavor profile and nice, citrusy aroma.

What I like least: The price and soapy flavor components here and there.

Verdict: Good beer, worth trying for its complexity, but not elite.

SolomonGrundy, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of jjanega08
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A= Pours a golden yellow color with a nice thick off white head on it that holds steady retention and lacing. The head is just off white and rises to a nice two fingers with a gentle pour.

S= The smell is typical Belgian yeast smell coming from it with pears and green apples. There is a small hop character. Actually sort of a muted smell.

T= The taste is also unexpectedly muted in a way. The Belgian yeast flavors come through nicely for sure and the pears, green apples, and peppery spice you associate with belgian yeast comes through a little as well. A slight lemon zest comes through.

M= Great carbonation on it with a beautiful zip to it.

D= This is a very easy drinking beer for sure and a wonderful beverage but I expected a tad more from RR. Amazing to say the least but this is just a little let down.

jjanega08, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of aasher
3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was very excited to finally try something from Russian River. A friend of mine shipped some home for the holidays. It poured a watery pale straw yellow with a light, light white head. It had some slight cloudiness and bubbled the entire time. It smelled of yeast and alcohol. I would've expected and preferred something more. It taste fine but wasn't spectacular. It was good but not life altering. It drank smoothly and pretty thin. This beer was very drinkable. You wouldn't know that this was near 8% at all. It was good but not anything too special.

aasher, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of bernardus1212
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ML poured into Brandy Snifter.

Pours a Bright orange with a thick white head that runs away quickly. Some sticky lacing on the glass.

Pungent ripe oranges with some belgium yeast and spices. The refermented yeasts give a dense punget ripe taste but the balance of the spice and fruit balances it out perfectly. Best Golden Ale Ive ever had. Wish I could get some more.

bernardus1212, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of Sachsenfreude
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance; pale yellow, somewhat cloudy with a bit of sediment(suppose that's my fault). Forms a tight white head, that leaves a sticky film on top of the drink after a slow dissipation. Pretty nece lacing.

smell; bits of white sugar but mostly grapefruit flesh, bitterness is pleasantly blended with the citrus-like sweetness.

taste; light grapefruit hops, again as with the smell bitterness is low and not rindy but more like citrus flesh, flavors are very fresh. Lemon tartness with mild hops and bitterness in the finish and aftertaste.

mouthfeel; medium bodied with fine bites of carbonation. Crisp and refreshing finish.

drinkability; very pleasant with well hidden alcohol. Goes down easy and leaves just enough of an aftertaste to entice another.

Sachsenfreude, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of Bookseeb
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance has a light amber color with a thick healthy head and good lace. Smell has a light yeasty farmhouse belgian aroma with citrus notes. Taste is spicey, floral and pretty much a straight forward Belgian style with minimal alchohol present. Mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation. A nice easy drinking, but not to complex belgian style ale.

Bookseeb, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of roodie
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

batch 51, into a green flash tulip

A: heavily carbonated, cork came out extremely easily. pours a honey-golden hue with 1 finger of head. head retains throughout my enjoyment of the beer.

S: yeasty, funky nose, major citrus, hints of pear and white wine.

T: hops and citrus blend, a perfect ratio, banana flavor rounds out the profile, takes any bitterness off. very little burn from alcohol.

M: leaves a spicy/tangy flavor on the palate, quite pleasant. carbonation adds to the "spiciness".

D: awesome. may be my go to BSPA. alcohol didn't hit my palate or me until afterwards!

overall, I loved this beer, it's semi-readily available so I will turn to this often. for me, it jostles with bruery premiere for my favorite beer.

roodie, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of kwjd
3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap a couple times on my trip. I reviewed it twice in my phone without realizing. Luckily I basically wrote the same thing, so this is combining of the two notes. Pours a pale yellow with thin white head. Smells fruity, I think I get sweet pear, to go with Belgian yeast. Very dry flavour overall. I get some spices more in the aftertaste, almost like a saison.

kwjd, Dec 29, 2010
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375ml bottle into bruges tulip. From notes. Thanks to stoney73 for this!
A: A very lively carbonation pours a full, white head. The body is a hazy golden hue. The lacing is full and sticky.
S: The nice note of clove and a Belgian yeasty character. The hint of flowers and crispness.
T/M: A front is a full explosion of carbonation, while this settles down a bit after the gases burn off. The classic tastes of a golden ale in the Belgian style. A hint at clove and chamomile and coriander. The mouthfeel is a creamy note of complex character.
D: This is an all around great brew to drink, I wish I had access to them and a pub to get draft pulls. A nice all around brew.

GDBEERMAN, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of dwarvenstout
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle (batch #41), cellared for a year, popped on Christmas.

Aroma: Some spicy, floral notes, with banana fruitiness and some apple and pear.
Appearance: Cloudy gold, long lasting white head.
Flavor: Fruit and spice. Some earthy, floral hoppiness. Something almost woody. Sweet but not cloying.
Mouthfeel: Medium-low body. Medium carb. Long pleasant finish.
Overall: A very nice beer in the style. Personal preference is for more floral spice (think PranQster), but this was very good.

dwarvenstout, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of Gmann
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky golden straw color with a short dense pure white head that quickly settles into a solid ring.

The aroma is sweet and floral. Candi sugar notes with some honey suckle; some really nice clove phenols from the yeast and a light peppery spice from the hops. Pretty spot on for the style.

Honey suckle and clove flavors hit right off the bat, sweet lemonade, candi sugar, light coriander and a very light grassy/peppery hop. I feel that I pick up some orange, not orange peel, but orange sweetness. Light tart apple in the finish. Again, pretty much nails the style.

The feel is moderate with very fizzy carbonation, enough that it sizzles the tongue a bit. Sweet on the palate with a very light bitter offset.

This beer is a winner, great representation of the style, abv well hidden.

Gmann, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of krisandajt
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aah, Damnation. The first brew I ever tried from Russian River. I really enjoyed it the first time around, and I pick up a bottle or two whenever I can. Guess I should sit down and review it.

Appearance: Poured from the bottle, this beer is cloudy, light golden color with a solid inch worth of white fluffy head. Retention is impressive, and the lacing is pretty good too.

Smell: A little sweet, a bit of spice, with a moderate grassy kind of hop quality to it. There's also a mild fruit quality to it, though I can't really pick out anything distinct.

Taste: The spice and fruitiness comes out more here, and the grassy hops I picked up in the nose take a backseat. There's a nice Belgian yeast quality, and the fruitiness reminds me a bit of lemon zest and pepper.

Mouthfeel: Nice light to medium body, good clean crisp finish, good carbonation.

Drinkability: A fine drinking brew from Russian River, the first one I've had and still one of my favorites. I usually have at least one of these in my cellar (this is my last one, guess I gotta go buy more), and I would recommend this brew to anybody. Cheers!

krisandajt, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of mjsheehan08
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle caged and corked. Batch number on bottle. Poured into a chimay goblet glass. 

Pours a yellowy orange color with some specks of yeast floating around the glass. A cloudy, white 2 fingered head forms at the top that dissipates  into a single layer of white that caps this brew. Lacing stays with this beer. 

Smell is fruity and malty, and I can detect the Belgium yeast present in the nose. Spicy.  I'm not blown away by the aroma, but I usually am not when it comes to Belgians. 

Taste is fresh. Strong fruit presence to balance out the Belgium yeasty malt flavors. There is definitely some lemon zesty flavor as well as some grainy malts. Really a well balanced beer.

Mouthfeel is medium with little carbonation.  Coats the palate and stay with you after you have swallowed it.

I would drink this  much faster if I know I could get them more readily or if it wasn't so pricey in my area. Really hides the alcohol well, and I have another one of these in the fridge that I might drink tonight. 

mjsheehan08, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 058 - brewed 5/18, bottled 6/14/2010

A. Pours a fairly clear golden/yellow with some small little globs of floating yeast. The foamy white head recedes to a thin film leaving a few small globs of residual lacing.

S. Belgian yeast spiciness with some floral fruity character - including a touch of tart apple.

T. Starts off with just a touch of malty sweetness that leads into some lemon peel character. The peppery spice then comes in and dominates leading to a dry spice finish. The alcohol is always in the background, but not quite detectable until after the swallow when it shows its head a bit in the aftertaste.

M. Medium body with a high level of small bubble prickly carbonation.

D. A nice subtle take on the style. Quite refreshing.

BeerAndBourbon, Dec 17, 2010
Photo of cadaugherty
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance- Pours an nice hazy amber with loads of fluffy carbonation.

Aroma/Taste- Fruity and spicy, hello belgian yeast. Overall nice and crisp but with just enough belgian notes to keep it interesting. Think lemon zest and corriander.

Mouth- Light and refreshing. Slight palate coating.

Drink- If this was cheaper I could drink 4 in a row. Overall a very nice beer.

cadaugherty, Dec 15, 2010
Photo of TheFightfan1
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Pours a hazy tangerine color. Flimzy heading that left a thin white lining around the edge of the glass. Decent flow of carbonation coming from the bottom of the glass to the surface.

Smell is mostly of belgian notes. Clove,subtle spice,and the funky fruity yeasts.

Taste is all the same. The spice is apparent right from the get go.A bit peppery quickly follows up with a somewhat lemon citrus. Finishes with a clove linger that sticks around throughout the tasting.

Despite it's 8% ABV this is extremely light bodied and very drinkable.

I like this offering much better from the bottle than the tap.

TheFightfan1, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of cbarrett4
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into tulip glass.

(also enjoyed on many occasions from tap)

This is a wonderful Belgian style American ale. Lots of bright citrus with a slight funky note from the Belgian yeast. Banana, clove, spice, and citrus all combine to form a rich yet refined brew. Medium weight, not too heavy, perfect alcohol content for the body. Finishes very smooth. Immensely drinkable and satisfying.

cbarrett4, Dec 09, 2010
Photo of Prospero
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in a glass, it is golden yellow in color. The aroma is like fresh bread and some fruit like characteristics like apple/pear, lemon zest, possibly from the Belgian hops. The taste is pretty similar, sweet but hints of lemon and citrus. In terms of body it's very light and had about a 2 finger head and medium carbonation. There's a lot of complexity and flavors for (what I would consider) a pretty light ale. Light and refreshing for the summer.

Prospero, Dec 08, 2010
Photo of Chincino
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer on-tap at the Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa, CA in August 2010 as part of a sampler of the beers they had on-tap that day and I also had this beer in a pint glass.

The beer poured a hazy yellow color. It had an aroma of fruit and spice predominantly a lemon smell.

The beer was light to medium bodied with lots of carbonation.

This beer was unique and had a slight bitter aftertaste.

I enjoyed this beer and would recommend it although it was not my favorite of the beers I tried that day at Russian River Brewing Company.

Chincino, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of DavoleBomb
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Batch 056x1. Plenty of carbonation going on here. The cork was far too eager to come out. First pour gave four plus fingers of head.

4.0 A: Hazed orange brownish color. Big moderately dense white froth with good retention and tons of lacing.

4.5 S: Almost saison like due to the big presence of fruit and spices. Pear, peach, lemon, and wild apple fruitiness. Herbal spiciness with a touch of corriander and clove. Small touch of vegetal herbalness as well. Fairly strong yeastiness.

4.0 T: The taste is more lemony that the nose and less of the other fruits. Some banana in there as well. Grassy and herbal hops. Corriander is fairly strong in the taste, but the clove is more subdued like in the nose. Not really strong flavors, but good enough and they seem to work pretty well together.

4.5 M: Medium body. Higher carbonation that comes off as spritzy and works pretty well. Reasonably creamy and smooth.

4.0 D: Definitely a good beer. A bit pricey, but a good treat every now and then. Solid throughout.

DavoleBomb, Dec 04, 2010
Photo of mothman
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Damnation Batch 43 into chalice. Side by side with batch 23 (46)

Pours over 2 fingers of fluffy white head. Good head retention with some thick lace. Active carbonation. Color is a slight hazed dark golden orange.

Aroma: Pineapple juice up front with some bananas following quickly. A fruit cocktail. Pears as well. Some coriander and spice. Belgian yeast.

Taste: Very dry here. Coriander, spice, and yeast all show. Bready malts here. Pears, dried apples, and some orange peel show. Has some earthy, grassy hops. Not as sweet as the nose.

Mouthfeel: Dry and crisp/bubbly. Medium bodied with a ton of carbonation. Ends extremely dry.

Overall, a decent Belgian, but the taste alters a bit too much from the nose in an unwilling favor. Nice mouthfeel, but ends too dry for me. Decent drinkability.

mothman, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wasn't particularly sure if this would be sour or not (it wasn't), but it was a really good brew, in my opinion. Light, zesty, refreshing, it reminds me of a spring beer--actually in the same vein as Fantome Printemps, though not as good. Light bodied, well carbonated, great drinkability. Lemons, some grassiness, and light malt/yeast notes are the big players here.

LordAdmNelson, Dec 01, 2010
Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,169 ratings.